52,000 additional seats, with full service plan details -- and the latest
traffic updates -- available through the 511 hotline and 511.org.
Meanwhile, AC Transit workers -- who provided the bulk of the back-up rides despite their contract also expiring Sunday night -- had not planned to walk off the job despite earlier threats to shut down the East Bay bus line. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192, the union for AC Transit drivers and mechanics, has vowed to give 24-hour notice before striking but had yet to do so.
"They are still talking," AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said late Monday afternoon.
AC Transit ran extra buses and carried thousands of extra passengers Tuesday to help people stranded by the BART strike, yet drivers made 99 percent of their scheduled runs, said David Armijo, the agency's general manger.
"Our operators did a magnificent job under some stressful conditions that will likely persist until BART returns to its normal service," Armijo said.
Around the Bay Area, people began coping with a life without BART.
"I was going crazy. I didn't know what to do," Alicia Wooley, 35, who takes BART daily to San Francisco but used AC transit as an alternative. "I hope they come to an agreement fast. I understand what they're going through but they have to realize what they're doing to everyone else. They're impacting the whole Bay Area."
Many commuters were angry. Karen O'Connor, 58, of Antioch, left home two hours early this morning to catch the ferry to San Francisco. O'Connor, a city worker, had little sympathy for the striking BART workers, saying "we all have to pay into our pension."
BART workers, who average about $83,000 annually in gross pay, contribute nothing toward their retirement and $92 monthly to health insurance. BART has offered an 8 percent pay hike over four years and wants workers to pay more toward their medical and pension benefits, while the local Service Employees International Union and Amalgamated Transit Union are looking for a 23 percent pay hike.
"As it is, they are overpaid," O'Connor said.
But Anne Coogan-Gehr, 56, of Pittsburg, who typically takes BART to her job in San Francisco, said she supports the striking workers despite the disruption to her commute. She was among dozens of people in Oakland catching an AC Transit bus to San Francisco.
"I'm very supportive of the BART workers in their negotiations for stabilized salaries and health and retirement benefits," Coogan-Gehr said.
Chris Morgan, 38, who works in San Francisco, chalked up the work stoppage as part of the bargaining process.
"I don't take it personally on either side," Morgan said, adding he took an extra hour to get to work after getting the news at 3:30 a.m. while following updates on Twitter. "I'm hoping it'll make my life pretty much unchanged."
At least one rider wasn't sure of which alternate route to take. Ama Gee woke up at 4 a.m. in Discovery Bay and drove to Oakland's Lake Merritt looking for a public transit connection to San Francisco's Financial District. Gee usually parks at a BART station and rides in, but this morning he was wandering Grand Avenue, lost and without a plan.
"I have no idea how to get to San Francisco," Gee said. "No one can tell me where to go, what bus to take." Finally, a fellow a commuter helped to direct
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